Metadata on Gau Mata: 7 reasons why 2019 will be the year of the cow
If it's election time, can the cow be far behind? The BJP brought the cow back in political discourse, now the Congress is also milking it dry for electoral gains.
When a blanket ban on beef was imposed in Maharashtra in 2015, not many thought cow protection would become top priority. It has. Even in non-BJP states.
While fringe groups have maimed and killed over alleged incidents of cow theft, beef eating or smuggling, protests have been held to stop such attacks and discard the politics that encourages it.
The cow, meanwhile, has kept our nationalist policy wonks busy. Here's a look at 7 ideas put forth to save the Holy Cow. Trust us, before the year ends, there will be more.
Delhi plans PG hostels for cows
Believe it or balk, the Delhi government has recently announced that it will open paying guest (PG) hostels for cows. Delhi Animal Husbandry Minister Gopal Rai has said that the government is working on building the most advanced cow shelter which will be clubbed with an old-age home.
We're planning to open the most advanced cow shelter in Ghumanhera. It will be a gaushala-cum-old age home where the elderly will be in the company of cows, he said.
Congress's 'gaushala' manifesto
In 2018, before the assembly election in Madhya Pradesh, the Congress promised to build many more cow sanctuaries and provide funds to keep them protected and safe. The manifesto also promised temporary cow camps on main roads to provide treatment to injured cows besides offering abundant grazing land for cattle. And guess what? Congress won the election!
Cow protection = Corporate social responsibility
Ever heard of a private company being asked to take care of gaushalas as part of its Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR)? Well, it seems the Uttar Pradesh government has already envisioned such a plan.
The Uttar Pradesh government recently asked all district magistrates in the state to explore options of getting private companies to fund temporary cow shelters as part of CSR drive.
UP government then took it a notch higher and suggested cow shelters would also be constructed by local bodies using funds allocated for the government's flagship rural jobs scheme Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) and Members of Parliament Local Development Scheme (MPLADS) or MLALAD funds.
Mother of Nation status for cows
The Uttarakhand Law Commission has recommended changes in the state's Protection of Cow Progeny Act 2007 to declare cow as mother of the nation'.
In its report, the commission referred to the cow as rashtra mata' and a unanimous resolution was passed by the government but is awaiting a green signal from the Centre.
The commission also recommended amending the 2007 act for setting up veterinary centres and shelters for stray cows and also for penalising cattle owners in case of cruelty to the animal. It has even recommended setting up toll free numbers to report violence against cows.
Ambulance for cows
The Uttar Pradesh government in 2017 started an ambulance service for cows. The Gauvansh Chikitsa Mobile Vans' was flagged by Uttar Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Keshav Prasad Maurya.
A toll-free number was also released for people to inform authorities about ill or injured cows. The service is currently available in Lucknow, Gorakhpur, Varanasi, Mathura, and Allahabad.
Gau Kalyan cess
The Uttar Pradesh government has reportedly cleared a policy for implementation of cow welfare cess or Gau Kalyan cess during a cabinet meeting. According to the new policy, an additional cess of 0.5 per cent will be levied on excise items to fund the construction and maintenance of cow shelters.
In addition, 0.5 per cent cess will also be levied on toll tax by government agencies and on profits made by public sector enterprises and construction agencies such as the UP State Construction and Infrastructure Development Corporation Limited and UP State Bridge Corporation Ltd.
Abandoning cows now punishable by law
In Madhya Pradesh, Rajasthan and Haryana, any person abandoning his/her cattle may be slapped with a hefty fine. If such an incident is reported, district collectors are authorised to book cow owners. In Haryana, the penalty for abandoning a cow is Rs 5,100.